Night watch with Hurricane Lenny

Essay by Kaz_RSA March 2003

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I am on watch in the cockpit on board the sailing vessel "Sister Moon". I am being flung around as though I am a bouncing ball. I try to make sense of my surroundings as I awkwardly search the horizon for any other unfortunate vessels being thrown from towering swell to towering swell. I feel totally alone out here in this raging pool of pitch-black darkness. Images of the ocean swallowing me and my family in a single gulp flash through my mind every second.

The wind is beating against my icy skin and every bone in my body aches from the relentless cold. I want to be brave and I don't want to allow fear to override my entire body but my emotions have no remorse and I can no longer control them. I am absolutely exhausted yet wide awake at the same time. Fatigue washes over me with each swell that smashes into "Sister Moon's" hull and sprays salty spears onto my face.

I stumble my way down the companion way into "Sister Moon's" warm and cosy belly, where every creak or bang is magnified tenfold. I slam into the chart table as "Sister Moon" is knocked down by yet another monstrous swell. I limp towards the unsteady stove, rocking back and forth on its gimbals and I hold onto the counter so tight that my knuckles turn a translucent white. I shakily light the stove and put the kettle on to boil.

Heaving my way up the companion way to examine the radar I notice an unfamiliar green symbol that has been highlighted onto one of the ancient coffee-stained charts upon the chart table. In my state of confusion I look closer and recognise the symbol, but I can't yet place it. I whisper to my...